UFC 107: 620,000 Buys
December 23, 2009
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer writes that UFC 107 beat just about every expectation in selling over 600,000 PPV buys on December 12th.
After four straight disappointing numbers, UFC 107 shocked pretty much everyone, affirming the value of a great pregame show as it did, based on the latest estimates, more than 620,000 buys. That will end up probably tripling Survivor Series’ North American buys that took place the next day.
What is curious is that the wide variance between UFC 106 and UFC 107 isn’t notable in looking at non-PPV numbers that you could look at regarding interest in the show, such as amount of clicks on major web site coverage of the shows, web site activity regarding the shows, which almost always directly correlate with buy rates. In looking at these numbers, 107 was ahead of 106, but there was nothing that would indicate 107 doing almost double the buys.
Historically, when looking at these types of numbers, you usually can get a good indication of where the PPV numbers are going to fall. For 106, the buys were much lower than those numbers would indicate, but for 107 they were much higher and right now I can’t come up with a reason why this would be. Within the company, the belief is B.J. Penn has become one of the top draws. In the arena at 107, the most popular fighter was Clay Guida. But Guida is your classic example of a guy who gets a great response, probably helps a little with TV ratings but I don’t see him as a PPV draw, and obviously Zuffa doesn’t see him as a big one either since Guida vs. Kenny Florian wasn’t even promoted on the Countdown show.
Going into UFC 107 we had a pretty good idea that it was going to be the best PPV since UFC 101 in August, but I’m not sure anyone expected 620,000 based on the kind of pre-fight indicators that we were seeing. UFC 107 proved to be the first – and probably not the last – event to exceed our PPV prediction range here at MMAPayout.
What explains the result? Like anything else, the result is a combination of things:
- A believable title fight
- A solid main card
- Strong personalities: BJ Penn, Frank Mir, and to a lesser extent Diego Sanchez
- UFC 107 was the strongest card – by far – in more than 5 months
If you believe that fans have been forced to carefully pick and choose between events – for any number of reasons, but most related to time or monetary constraints – then it makes sense that UFC 107 is the card they chose to purchase more so than any other event this fall. The level of interest in the UFC hasn’t necessarily changed over the last few months, but the willingness of the UFC’s fans to purchase an event understandably fluctuates.
It all comes down to the UFC’s ability to promote and build fight cards that have the perception of being worthy to purchase. Hence, the reason why Frank Mir’s performance on the Countdown show was as effective as it was. The UFC had the attention of all these fans – it never left after UFC 101 – but the organization simply had to convince those people that this card was worthy of the purchase.
It all sounds very basic, but when you look at some of the panic we’ve seen over the last few months it’s a necessary reminder.